Monday, July 31, 2017

How Time Passes

             If I were to be honest, I would have to tell you that I am absolutely in awe of how quickly time passes. I still remember Durk Pearson and Sandy Shaw, who hold multiple Phds, and their discussions of life extension on the Merv Griffin Show when I was a teen. I followed some of their recommendations, and I must say, it has worked in terms of keeping me fairly healthy, energetic and youthful. It has not slowed the passage of time though.

            In the early 1980s, before I left NJ, I was a young RN and I made many friends at what is now the Robert Woods Johnson Medical Center, which is also the teaching hospital of Rutgers Medical School.  I had many friends who came from all over the world, both men and women who had come to do a fellowship or a residency. What I remember most is their senses of humor. So many of them were very funny and this kept me on my toes.

            This week I learned that one of my dear friends from those days has died. Without naming him, I would like to say he was one of the kindest people to both his patients and to all the staff. He loved nice cars and I remember well his Lotus Elite.  His obituary said that the love of his life had been his young grandchildren.

              How does this happen ?  Yes, I moved away, married, had five children, developed several careers, built a couple of farms, sent children to college and stood in awe as they graduated and built homes or businesses, but I have just gotten started. I have just cleared my schedule enough to be able to achieve some of the things I really want to do.

             How can it be that some of the kindest and funniest friends I have known have been called home already ?   Perhaps it is no longer time to be patient. Perhaps it's time to achieve the things we wish to, while we still can.  By the way, my friend, if you are reading my post from the great beyond, I have only one grandson, and I quite agree with you on how wonderful they are.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

About Facebook


       If I were to be honest, I would tell you that although I appreciate blogger, e-mail and Linkedin, that I really don't enjoy Facebook much.  Because my new book "Portsoy Woods" has been released, I committed with the publisher to spending six hours a week on social media in its promotion. Only in Facebook can you arrive, be spammed with hundreds of people you don't know wishing to friend you. I accepted them, because this is how you make connections and sell books. Within minutes, two men claimed to love me (based on my book cover picture), one Middle Eastern man wanted me to deposit money in his account, and one man became angry because "I wasn't spending enough time with him online".  Only on facebook can you lose rating by not responding to your "new friends" quickly enough.  Yesterday, I was signed up to a pornographic group there without my permission.  With twenty minutes twice a day spent there, this is just a chance I will have to take. I don't know if this is translating into books purchased or not. A lot of the people who contact me don't seem to read or respond in English very well. It might be that the book would be too much of an effort for them to read in the first place. I don't really understand how spending time on what seems to be a dating site is going to help my book sales. But then, that's just me. Your own mileage could vary.

           If you are genuinely interested in the book, "Portsoy Woods", these are links which would enable you to read about it or purchase it. I would actually converse with someone who wanted to talk about that !


Thursday, October 13, 2016

I Cannot Recollect Such a Contentious Election


Photo: Science Daily

   My parents had a rule in that they did not discuss politics or religion in public. Of course, they discussed various aspects of both with friends, but not in public places within the earshot of others.  I used to think their stance was excessive, but now, I am thinking how bright and wise they both, in fact, were.

                This week, in numerous public places people have begun arguing with one another regarding Trump and Hillary Clinton.   Clinton supporters can't believe that others would be in total support of a man they think is a racist and anti-woman, and some Trump supporters can't believe that others would be in support of a woman who sold influence during her tenure as Secretary of State, allowed State Department employees and a diplomat to be killed when no aid was sent to them in Benghazi, and who illegally used a private server to keep her state department e-mails from the prying eyes of government oversight.  In many places such arguments have become insulting, loud and progressed to fist fighting. Police have been called.

               Yes, it's a crucial election.  With the US in 20 trillion dollars in debt, and with Russia actually verbalizing that gearing up for war against us, people are on edge and they are less than rational.

                Do as much research on these people as you can.  Then make your decision. Keep your mouth shut while you are doing it, and this includes pollsters too.  Your choice is a private one, and your car shouldn't be torched for it, and increasingly, it could be.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

My Recollections of Tim Kaine

Tim Kaine and his wife Ann Holton, as hosts to Queen Elizabeth in 2007 / AP Photo/Bob Brown, Pool

              This morning I awoke to hear that Hillary Clinton had finally announced her vice presidential running mate. She selected Tim Kaine from Virginia. (She has selected a gun owner who opposes abortion.)

                        Even with the illegal and unethical use of a private server aside for a moment,  Hillary is a particularly unlikable sort to many. Therefore, the selection of someone who is perennially gracious to everyone is a good pick for her side.   Having lived in Virginia now for more than twenty-five years, Tim Kaine is familiar to me. Although I generally identify with Republican objectives, I am friends with a number of Democrats. I consider Governor (Lawrence) Douglas Wilder, for example to be one of the finest people to ever seek political office, and he is a Democrat.

                        For those of you unfamilar with Tim Kaine, those of us who lived for a time in the Richmond area, are very familiar with him.  Tim is a law graduate of Harvard who came to Richmond to work as an attorney.  Tim Kaine is a gun owner and most people who used him felt he served his clients as a fair housing law attorney, well. He is also fluent in Spanish.  He is catholic and he and his wife have attended a catholic church in Richmond which is mostly of African American membership.

                        Tim Kaine is married to the former Ann Holton, who has worked as a juvenile and domestic relations judge. They have three children.  Ann is the daughter of a Virginia governor.   I remember that in the mid nineties, Tim Kaine was elected to the city council of Richmond. This was a bit of a joke to us, since so many of them go on to serve jail time afterward, but Kaine made it work for him.  I remember seeing Kaine one day when I was in the process of parking at the Borders Books store on West Broad Street and Kaine exited walking across my parking space nearly getting hit.  My minivan was full of children and I remember hitting the brakes with all I had.  Tim Kaine turned around, realizing what had happened and was broadly smiling as he mouthed "Sorry !"   I have often wondered what would have happened to him had I not been paying quite such good attention that day.

                    Over time, we raised all four of our biological children and adopted another.  Tim Kaine continued up the political ladder. In 1998, he was elected as Mayor to Richmond.   By all accounts, even those who opposed him, said he was both personable and charismatic.  He speaks easily and gives the impression that he has all sorts of time for you.   In the early 2000s, I remember Kaine being elected as the Lieutenant Governor.  By 2005, two of my kids were in college, and Tim Kaine crossed a parking lot at my eldest son's college, where he was walking alone, simply to shake his hand and ask him for his vote in the upcoming gubernatorial election. Kaine won.

                  A friend of ours had worked for Kaine and done significant work there, and had been promised a position in the new administration, but that position was never offered.

                    I will never forget Kaine and his wife Ann in 2007 as they hosted Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip.  Kaine and his wife kept patting the Monarch and Prince Phillip on the shoulder. Each time they did, the Queen and her husband looked shocked, but the Kaines never seemed to catch on.   Seems they did not know that you don't touch the Monarch unless she reaches out to shake your hand.

                    Kaine was the Democratic National Committee chair in 2009, and went on to be a US Senator. All this time, he has taught law part-time at intervals at the University of Richmond.

                    Kaine has done a credible job with whatever the undertaking and even the opposition likes him as a person.  It's unfortunate that his chance to run as a vice-president candidate is marred by running with someone with an overwhelming amount of negative baggage.  Perhaps the Democrats can flip the ticket making Kaine the presidential candidate, as Kaine has no scandals, potential pending indictments, closet skeletons, medical issues which make him unsuitable to run, or impairments to the receipt of a top secret clearance as does his running mate.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Why I Spend Less and Less Time Online

Saturday, June 11, 2016

There Must Be a Rift in the Space Time Continuum !


Someone used a stun gun somewhere on the Earth's underbelly and apparently now we have a rift in the fragile space time continuum.


 Something happened this week which made me wonder if we are witnessing a true and cataclysmic breach in the space time continuum.   It's not that I dislike Roseanne Barr. I think she is a brilliant comedienne. She has keen observation skills, great comedic timing, and her show showed us aspects and dynamics of the American family not shown to us on other programs. I have no doubt that she is a highly intelligent woman. However, I generally don't agree with her take on politics. Why would I?  She has been a long term comedienne, producer, director, stand up comic, comedy writer etc. and I have been a nurse and a college instructor. We have lived very different lives in very different places, and no one who is even reasonably intelligent expects everyone to think exactly as we do.  However, this is what happened this week.  Roseanne Barr made a statement in which she endorsed the election of Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican residential candidate. When she did, she said that America would be lucky if Trump won (the presidency) because then "we wouldn't have Hillary". She clearly opposed the election of Hillary because "the rule of law matters".

               I can't vote for Hillary Clinton under any circumstances. I will likely need to vote for Mr. Trump simply to block the possibility of electing Mrs. Benghazi who violated the law by hiding her e-mails from her employer the State a private server contrary to law.

                Could the world be so fractured, so up ended, so toasted that I am on the same political side as Roseanne Barr ? I too think that Mr. Trump wouldn't do anything to  hurt America, where the team we presently have seems to make a habit of it.

                It must be a mammoth time warp....


Thursday, June 9, 2016

On Keeping An Open Mind: The Joy Is In The Journey



  In this life we would best beware of saying that a particular action is "something we would never do" or "somewhere we would never live" or a trip we "would never take". Life has in interesting way of providing the exact circumstance for which to have us eat our words. Perhaps this is God at work demonstrating for us that although we have free choice, that he is in control, and will provide the opportunities for such choices. I remember that one of my friends who was most certain when we were teens that she "would never divorce" and of course, she has, twice.  I have also done a number of things I believed I would not do. Today, I was remembering one of them.
               Some years ago now, my husband, our four children at that time, and myself were living in a large suburban home in Virginia. The home was lovely, and it was a relatively easy commute for my husband to work and for our kids to go to Tae Kwon Do, Civil Air Patrol and flying lessons etc. There were also several universities within commuting distance when the time came. Still we were looking for larger acreage where we might build and where our children might know the joys of raising animals and perhaps horses.
               I perused lots of land ads in a variety of newspapers and occasionally on the internet. A particular ad surfaced at the time, and because the cost per acre was reasonable, we decided to take a look.  The land was a couple of hours from our home. It was a bit like an expedition just to go up and look at it along with all the kids, the youngest of whom was still a baby.  The road to the property was winding, hilly, hazardous, and a bit foreboding.  In some parts of the mountain trail trees on both sides of the road created a canopy over the cars. In summer, that would be nice, but in winter, I could see that collapsing trees could block the road.  There were almost no houses visible along the road, although I later learned that there were a few quite a distance off the road that were simply not visible from it.  On one of our first expeditionary trips, we saw a black bear. In winter, on the way up there, one could see a dumpy little village. I remember telling my husband, "I could never live up here. There is no shopping. There are no restaurants. I'll bet the power goes out a lot in the winter. It has the nature, but no essential services and not even mail delivery !"
               The land itself was gorgeous and very reasonable for that time. My husband wanted it, and I did not. In marriage, one of the most important skills is the skill set of compromise, and so we did. We decided to purchase the property "simply as an investment" because we could clearly never live there. We believed that the property would soar in value as time passed. Perhaps we would sell it as the kids neared college.
However, it didn't take long before we were making signs for our first farm. Our young daughter was drawing floorplans for "the new house at the farm".  It took time, but each element fell into place, and we built a home before moving there.  A few years later, we sold that farm at a profit and went on to build another, with more money down this time.
              I still rather regularly drive that same mountain trail.   There is still a canopy of trees protecting the roadway which is quite glorious in summer.  Trees fall into the roadway quite regularly in winter, which is the reason most people from these parts have a truck with a chainsaw in it.  We often see bears, but work hard not to inadvertently invite them to barbecues.   While our children were growing up, the "dumpy little village" I mentioned disappeared one structure at a time.  When we invested in the region,by building a home there, others did too. The comparative market analyses improved and people who owned properties either sold them or borrowed to replace and upgrade them.  The road department straightened out some of the hair pin curves and graded the road a bit better when it was next paved.  Families built country homes or farms on larger acreages just as we had. The parts of the trail that were gravel road were also eventually paved. The power still goes out rather frequently in this area, but what do I care ?  We have some solar with a battery array and we have a generator for true emergencies. The kids, before they went to universities, did get a chance to raise puppies, alpacas and now horses.
            How do I feel about living in the area ?  I think it's the best place we could have chosen.

       This is your reminder that reasonable risks exist to be taken. Whether it's a new job, a new home, a new area, or anything else, we should try to keep an open mind.  Don't do things you don't want to do, simply because the opportunity exists, but don't talk yourself out of the things you want to do because you simply don't have all the puzzle pieces in your hands just yet.  Take reasonable risks Sometimes the joy is in the journey.